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There’s a reason that your parents told you to save. Because you never know what tomorrow may bring. Hopefully the future will bring you good fortune, prudent investments and healthy dividends. Nonetheless, it’s a sad inevitability that even the best prepared of us is just a couple of paydays away from living on the breadline and an unexpected cost can seriously undo our carefully considered financial planning. Every time your EGR valve gets clogged on your car, the washing machine springs a leak or your ceiling shows signs of a leak the ensuing costs of repairs can put a serious dent in our finances and send us running into the arms of credit card companies or short term lenders.
While any of these occasions can be infuriating and inconvenient, the loss of a loved one can be absolutely devastating. Aside from the obvious emotional impact there’s the logistically complicated and undeniably expensive task of arranging a funeral. If someone you love has died intestate and without a life insurance policy the costs will fall upon you. This can exacerbate an already difficult time and our emotionally delicate state can make the decision making process infinitely harder. Nonetheless, there are ways in which the costs can be mitigated so that they don’t derail your financial goals.
It’s okay to save
In this incredibly delicate time, nobody wants to appear disrespectful to the dearly departed by appearing to be a penny pincher. However, although you may feel like there is pressure on you to opt for the best and brightest out of respect for the dead, there’s absolutely no shame in opting for a modestly priced funeral. After all, it’s highly unlikely that the departed would want you to spend exorbitant amounts of money and put your financial wellbeing at risk on their account. You should feel vindicated in planning a funeral within your budget without expensive extras. This brings us to…
Choose your funeral director wisely
Funeral directors should be professional, respectful and helpful. They should recognize that this is an incredibly difficult time for you and should be sensitive to your needs. Far too many people settle on the first funeral director that they come across, but there’s absolutely no shame in shopping around. A good funeral director will work collaboratively with you to try and keep the funeral costs within your budget. They’ll identify the areas in which you may be able to save money by doing things yourself and not try to upsell you while you’re vulnerable. Look for a funeral director with a long history and a good reputation.
The legal side
Registering a death in the UK is free, although you’ll likely need additional copies of the death certificate which will be chargeable. If you want to cremate the body then a doctor’s certificate will be required and this will cost you around £160 as it will not be covered by the NHS.
Coffins, burials and cremations
Burial caskets can be staggeringly expensive despite the fact that they will only ever be used once. Again, if a funeral director tries to pressure you into a needlessly expensive coffin, take your business elsewhere. You don’t even need to buy through the funeral director. There are independent retailers from whom you can save money by buying direct. Keep in mind that a casket will be needed whether you intend to bury or cremate the body and that crematorial costs can all add up. Even running over time at a crematorium can incur charges of over £100.